What products are being made using Nanotechnology right now? What is right around the corner? What is still far in the future?
Nanoscience has a potential to produce unimaginable changes in our society. There is no field of knowledge that will be unaffected by it. Like all things small it can go unnoticed but not unfelt in its impact.
This is a lecture given by Professor Babak Parviz from the University of Washington on the history of manufacture leading to the nanotechnology revolution. If you want to really learn all about this is is the lecture to watch. It is about 60 minutes in length.
He explains that as the parts of a machine get smaller and smaller, it gets more difficult for industrial robots to assemble them. So there must be a breakthrough manufacturing process for the nanotechnology to advance in full motion. The direction engineers are taking is to imitate how nature puts together small atomic particles or molecules. They intend to duplicate those natural manufacturing methods. Nature uses "self-assembly" and if we are to continue to progress in the manufacturing of smaller and smaller computers, we must imitate or master this process. So we would have to learn how to "grow" devices like nature does.
The engineering that will take place in this nanoworld, will be organic engineering. Already in nature bacteria are known to make nonorganic substances like iron-oxide. Your body makes teeth which in themselves are not living. The question now is can we figure out a way to make living proteins make the materials for the nanomachines we want to build? Not yet, but we are getting closer to understanding it.
Back to Nature for the Next Technology Revolution>
Manufacturing Costs of Nanotech Products
The problems that nanotech products will face is the same as the music industry faces today. The costs for designing the product will be great but the cost for making copies will be very low. This is similar to the software industry faces. It would be possible for for even the common people in the future to be able to copy the product. This lecture is brilliant in its vision of the business side of nanotechnology. In the second half of the lecture he discusses the costs of manufacturing robots with Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). This lecture may be too intense to listen to in one sitting so pace yourself.
David Friedman: "Economics of Nanotech and AI" at Foresight 2010 Conference from Foresight Institute on Vimeo.
Potential Health Hazards of Nanotechnology
This video covers in DETAIL the possible health hazards of nanotech. It features experts in the medical field. They mention that apparently, there were nano carbon tubes found in the dust of the World Trade Center disaster. These researchers are from the Centers for Disease Control. Each of the lectures is fairly short. There is an amazing website which speaks not only on the benefits of nanotechnology but the possible dangers.
Preventing Adverse Health Effects from Nanotechnology>
Four Generations of Nanotechnology
Mihail Roco of the United States National Nanotechnology Initiative described four generations development. According to Mr. Roco, we are presently at the initial stage. The four stages are:
actuators (which is an energy generator), sensors(detection of substances or bacteria) and drug delivery devices (such as for the attack of Cancer). The third generation will feature nanosystems with thousands of interactive components. According to Mr. Roco the fifth generation systems will act like biological cells with hierarchical systems within systems. There is a great set of FAQs here you can check.
There is much more to cover concerning the world changing dangers and advancements of Nanotechnology. This will be covered in a future coming section in this series.